By Israel in Philippines | 05:03 PM January 27, 2022
The Embassy of Israel in the Philippines and the Department of Education (DepEd) of the Philippines held a virtual ceremony and symposium in commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. This year’s theme is “Memory, Dignity, and Justice.”
“We are gathered today to remember and commemorate the Holocaust, the darkest time in human history and of the Jewish people. 6 million Jews were murdered – one third of the Jewish population, only because they were Jewish,” Ambassador Ilan Fluss said. “This can’t be ignored, we can never let it happen again,” the ambassador added.
“The gesture of the Philippines in giving 1,300 Jews refuge in the Philippines in 1939 is so important. They saved not only those individuals but also their future families,” Ambassador Fluss emphasized in his remembrance statement.
Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary H.E. Teodoro Locsin Jr. mentioned in his recorded message the Open Door Policy of the Philippines, which saved lives of some Jews fleeing the Nazi regime.
“It is the decent thing of the global community to commemorate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on this day. We all have responsibility to remember the holocaust and the commitment of ‘never again’. The Open Door Policy was the sense of decency that moved Filipinos. It was a defining moment for Jews,” Sec. Locsin said.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones shared her experience during her visit to the Yad Vashem museum in Israel where she saw the photographs of those who perished during the holocaust. “It is high time that we teach our Filipino children about the holocaust and the humane act of President Quezon,” Sec. Briones stressed.
The event’s highlights were the lighting of 6 candles representing the 6 million Jews who perished during the holocaust and the sharing of the story by holocaust survivor herself, Ms. Rina Quint.
Also in attendance to the event were United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzales, DepEd Usec. Wilfredo Cabral, DepEd Usec. Tonisito Umali, German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel, the diplomatic community, DepEd executives and personnel, students, the Jewish community in the Philippines, among others.
A symposium about the holocaust followed the ceremony. Dr. David Deutsch did a virtual tour in the Yad Vashem museum to remember the victims of the holocaust.
The embassy held an intimate candle lighting ceremony at the friendship monument in Quezon City prior to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Deputy Chief of Mission Nir Balzam, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, and Jewish Association of the Philippines Executive Director Mr. Lee Blumenthal lighted the candles and offered prayers to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust.